01/6Who faces the highest risk of contracting mucormycosis right now?
Over the past weeks, there has been a sharp rise in the number of fungal infections reported in India, which many feel is the newest epidemic we are facing.
Now, while mucormycosis, namely black and white fungal infections aren’t exactly rare or new disease in itself, the proportion of cases detected, high mortality rate and the short availability of antifungal medications is what makes the infection even scarier at a time like this when we are facing pressures of surging COVID-19 infections.
Now, mucormycosis may not hit every individual impactfully, but it can be quite serious and mortal for those suffering from health complications and comorbidities. People with compromised immunity, right now, are the most susceptible to the risks and complications associated with fungal infections, since their immune system may not be equipped enough to fight the pathogens. Particularly, there are some diseases and pre-existing complications which add to the risk right now, and demand utmost precaution and vigil
The highest risk of catching fungal infections of any kind right now exists for those people who have a history of high blood sugar levels or uncontrolled diabetes. While diabetes gravely increases inflammation and suppresses the body’s immunity, high glucose levels also facilitate fungi to easily enter, spread or thrive in the body and cause vital complications.
Diabetes patients are also prone to skin infections, frequent bruises which can also allow for the fungus to enter the body more easily.
Additionally, patients suffering from severe diabetes, who are also vulnerable to facing COVID severity and hospitalization risk can face added dangers. Thus, monitoring blood glucose levels and maintaining them well is crucial.
Certain conditions, autoimmune disorders can inhibit the immune system from functioning well or defending the body from pathogens. While black fungus spreads in the body when a person inhales them through the air or contaminated surroundings, a poor functioning immune system or frail immunity can prolong recovery, impact other vital organs and slow down healing. Thus, those prone to poor immunity or fall ill frequently should take doubly cautious steps to safeguard themselves.
HIV-AIDS, according to the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is one of the biggest contributing immuno-suppressant conditions, which not just makes a person vulnerable to getting sick often, but also develop fungal infections. The risk of prolonged recovery, poorer outcomes and mortality risk is also high.
Similar risks may also affect those suffering from/ or have a history of cancer, or have been using immuno-suppressing steroids for a fairly long time. Excessive or indiscriminate use of steroids, antibacterial medicines have also been linked to a rise in mucormycosis cases right now.
05/6Those who have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 6 weeks
The majority of black and white fungus cases right now have been tied to patients who have recovered from COVID-19 or were hospitalized for the treatment of COVID-19. According to Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS, patients who have recovered from COVID-19 within 6 weeks are heavily at risk.
While it remains unknown whether COVID-19 itself is the big culprit behind the rise in fungal infections, it’s crucial to remember that a battle with COVID-19 can render the body very weak, and fall sick, especially weeks after the recovery stage if one is not too careful. Since COVID-19 can also lead to vital organ complications, there is a big risk of catching infections like mucormycosis at this point.
Those suffering from severe or critical COVID, and the ones who were put under intensive care/ oxygen therapy face high risks.readmore
Renal damage and failure can be bad for your immunity since it can weaken your system and easier for germs and pathogens to enter and cause consequential damage. Renal damage can also hinder the function of certain vital immuno-nutrients, which are produced by the kidneys. Thus, anyone with a history of kidney damage or failure faces a high risk of infectious complications, such as patients who have immune defects or on immunosuppressive therapies. Similar risks may exist for those suffering from liver damage.